Simon carries out illustrated talks across the south west and beyond. His talks last between 45 minutes and an hour. You can see his extensive range of subjects below. For presentations within Devon and Cornwall areas he charges £50 for a talk which is inclusive of travel, fuel and parking charges if needed. If you wish to know more about his talks, use the contact form here or ring him on 07845 176870.
Please note that due to an unprecedented demand for Simon’s talks and advance bookings from groups all over the westcountry Simon is now fully committed for 2019 AND 2020 with over 200 booked talks! After December 1st 2019 he is taking bookings for 2021 but his diary is filling fast even for 2021 so get in touch soon after 1st December 2019 if you wish to reserve a date in 2021. Generally speaking he needs about 18 month’s notice to give a talk because of the demand.
- LUNDY – A LANDMARK 50 YEARS (NEW)
The years following the Second World War saw the fortunes of Lundy take a significant turn downwards – the island supply boat, the Larina, had been commandeered by the Navy and was never to return. The years of austerity from 1945 onwards meant that the island’s infrastructure was deteriorating to an alarming degree. The owners of Lundy at that time were the Harman family, who had owned it since the mid-1920s and they were unable to resource the long-term prosperity of Lundy. It was in 1968 with the tragically-early death of Albian Harman in his 50s that a difficult and significant decision had to be made by his two sisters and widow to secure the long term future of this special place. The decision to sell Lundy was taken and it was put onto the open market.
When its sale was announced in that year, there was great public concern about the island’s future. An obvious solution was the National Trust, but it had no funds to buy it, let alone manage it from thereon. Much interest was shown by a number of organisations in purchasing the island but thankfully, in response to a national appeal, Sir Jack Hayward donated the purchase price of £150,000. The National Trust then leased the island to the Landmark Trust.
The Landmark Trust took on their greatest challenge and over the past 50 years of management on behalf of the island’s owners The National Trust, the island’s future has been turned around. With numerous properties for rent for holidays and over 15,000 day-visitors each year Lundy is a showcase example of what can be done with sensitive but effective management.
The past 50 years has seen unbelievable changes and this talk photographically charts those changes which have made the island what it is today – a vibrant, secure and well-known wildlife reserve and so much more. The future looks bright as a result of those 50 Landmark Years.
- TAVISTOCK ABBEY
The history of Tavistock Abbey from its founding in 974AD to the dissolution of the Monasteries in 1539 and its remains in the landscape of Tavistock.
- SKOMER ISLAND – WILDLIFE RESERVE
Simon was once a voluntary assistant warden on Skomer Island off the coast of Pembrokeshire and now leads guided walks there. His illustrated talk is of particular interest to wildlife groups and looks at the stunning flora and fauna of this fascinating wildlife reserve, one of the UK’s most famous islands off the coast of Wales.
- TAVISTOCK CANAL AND ITS HISTORY
“Tavistock is now Devon’s “World Heritage” town and this designation was created as a result of the Tavistock Canal and the part it played in the Cornwall and West Devon mining heritage. Constructed to improve transportation from the biggest copper mines in the world in the beginning of the nineteenth century, it linked Tavistock to the port of Morwellham on the River Tamar. This talk looks at the construction of the canal and the effect it had on Tavistock and West Devon”.
- TAVISTOCK HERITAGE MYTH AND LEGEND
A fascinating tale of truth and fiction surrounding the history of the town of Tavistock where Simon policed as the local community constable for many decades and where he became Chairman of the local history society.
- DARTMOOR ARCHAEOLOGY
The archaeological investigation of Dartmoor commenced in the late Victorian era with the formative Dartmoor Exploration Committee. Over a century methods changed significantly and in the early years of this century one of Europe’s most significant finds was made on Dartmoor using forensic science and computerised technology. This talk takes us through those decades of unearthing history from Palaeolithic times right up to modern day.
THE TWO MOORS WAYA virtual tour of the 108 mile journey along the cross-Devon long distance footpath from Wembury in the South to Lynmouth in the North.
- THE FAIR ARM OF THE LAW
The Centenary of the Policewomen’s Department formed in 1915 and the history of women police in the west country.
- THE DARTMOOR ‘CONCHIES’
The story of the Conscientious Objectors of the Great War held at Dartmoor Prison and a look at this significant 1917 Centenary.
- POLICING THE PENINSULA
A slide show looking at the history of policing the westcountry. The usual ‘policing talk’ to start with if you are new to my talks!
- THREE MURDERS AND A SUICIDE
The compelling story of three historic murders which are linked together with a suicide and all of which have touched Simon’s police service throughout four decades.
- MURDERS DEVON
Old historical murders throughout the county of Devon.
- MUTINY ON THE MOOR
The story of the 1932 Dartmoor Prison riot that destroyed much of the building.
- DARTMOOR PRISON
The story of Dartmoor Prison
- A JOURNEY TO EVEREST
An expedition to the highest place on earth from Nepal
A virtual tour of this lovely island from your armchair, hopefully to inspire you to make a visit!
- THE WILDLIFE OF LUNDY
A slide show of the wildlife of Lundy Island.
- LUNDY THROUGH TIME
A slide show looking at historical and archival photographs of Lundy Island based upon my best-selling book of that title.
- BODIES ON THE MOOR
The stories of various deaths Dartmoor
- LYDFORD AND THE STANNARY LAWS
The awful story of the tin mining laws and the life of the Dartmoor tinners.
- DARTMOOR’S SETT MAKERS’ BANKERS
The story of the lesser known industrial mystery of the small benches on the hills of Dartmoor where street cobbles were manufactured.
- AFTER DINNER SPEECHES
I am also available to give ‘after dinner speeches’ relating to my, often hilarious, experiences of almost forty years in police uniform.
- THE HISTORY OF FORENSIC SCIENCE
From the Roman times to DNA, forensic science has been used to detect crime. This talk looks at the development of forensics in that hunt for the offender.
- THE LIFE OF BEATRICE CHASE
The authoress from Widecombe-in-the-Moor was a complicated character. This talk looks at who she was and the mystery surrounding her life.